The house special
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I mean, you pretty much know what you’re getting into just from the name of the place, don’t you. But if that doesn’t tell you, look through the window or walk right in and see the narrow space, the bar on one side and the three little high-tops against the other wall, the one medium and one large table up in front. See the surfaces made from reused wood with peeling paint and engraved foliage. See the bottles behind the bar, which include many cute liquors but pointedly do not include vodka. See the floor, which is wood in a condition every bit as bad as the counter and tabletops. And if you still don’t get it, order their signature drink, a Voodoo Child, which is like a tighter version of a flat white served in a little glass skull. Continue reading
The working life
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The walls are alternating brick and panel, some painted white, some not; the tables are a mix of small two-person ones – no two of them identical, seven in total – plus a big heavy wooden high-top six-seater; the logo is painted big on one wall: a stylized lion shield with NINE BARS, whatever that means; the whole of it could be in some hip part of town and the place could be littered with hipsters, or it could be on a déclassé side of the city centre and packed with wage slaves. But this particular coffee joint is in Deer Park. It’s on St. Clair, just east of Yonge. It’s a good part of town to work if you’re a high-priced accountant. It’s a good part of town to live if you’re a high-priced accountant’s client. So the clientele here are largely a mix of quiet young ladies, guys in suits, and people well north of 50. Continue reading
It’s clean but… eclectic
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I’m sitting on some old crocheted thing provided to pad butts that have planted on the plywood here. Plywood is the theme of Tandem, in tandem with bare brick. There’s a bit of bench and counter at front, near the window, but most of the seating is at six square plywood tables arranged in front of two plywood benches along the side walls of the back. The tables also have one cheap chair each, of the kind found in underfunded schools and community centres: formed plywood on metal frames. Continue reading
Homey, if your home has a canoe hanging from the ceiling
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Nostalgic for the lakelands of cottage country? Wish you were sitting on the dock of the bay? Or perhaps you just want wood floors, wood tables, old-school wallpaper, comfy padded chairs, and a place that clearly has musical performances at the back some evenings and weekends? Obviously, you need to go to Queen East. There are plenty of coffice spaces in this stretch east of the tracks, and each one has its own variation. This one’s the cottage-style one. Its owners are from Sudbury. And you can sit in here and almost imagine you’re not in Toronto – just sit near the back and don’t look towards the window. Continue reading
Where else can you find this?
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This place is a secret. Don’t tell anyone about it. I don’t want to come here one day and find it packed out with Toronto Life readers or retro-hipsters. This is one place I can come on a winter’s day where there is always room to work and it’s always warm. I’ve been holding off on even mentioning it. Continue reading
Don’t know where you would tango, but…
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If you’re jonesing for a cute coffice space with a cute name and cute fixtures and everything that comes with that, including a floor that’s years overdue for being refinished (they’re redoing it this summer), a dozen low small round tables flanked by old padded chairs of varying wobbliness, and your choice of illumination from right-in-the-window to deep in the dark back – though of course there are Art Deco lamps throughout (and there’s a garden when the weather’s good enough), dance over to Tango Palace Coffee Company at Queen and Jones. It’s towards the east side of hipsterville, right next to a pretty little park. Continue reading